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Vaduz (German pronunciation: [faˈduːts] or [faˈdʊts]) is the capital of the principality of Liechtenstein and the seat of the national parliament. The town, located along the Rhine, has about 5,100 inhabitants (as of 2009),[1] most of whom are Roman Catholic. Its cathedral is the seat of a Roman Catholic archbishop.

While Vaduz is better known internationally, it is not the largest town in the principality: neighbouring Schaan has a greater population.



Vaduz is said to be mentioned in historic 12th century manuscripts as Farduzes. It is however commonly believed to have been founded in the thirteenth century by the Counts of Werdenberg. In 1322 a mention of the castle is made, which was sacked by the Swiss in 1499.

In the 17th century the Liechtenstein family was seeking a seat in the Imperial diet, the Reichstag. However, since they did not hold any territory that was directly under the Imperial throne, they were unable to meet the primary requirement to qualify.

The family yearned for the added power a seat in the Imperial government would bring, and therefore sought to acquire lands that would be Reichsunmittelbar, or held without any feudal personage other than the Holy Roman Emperor himself having rights on the land. After some time, the family was able to arrange the purchase of the minuscule Herrschaft ("Lordship") of Schellenberg and countship of Vaduz (in 1699 and 1712 respectively) from the Hohenems. Tiny Schellenberg and Vaduz possessed exactly the political status required; no feudal lord other than their comital sovereign and the suzerain Emperor.

Thereby, on January 23, 1719, after purchase had been duly made, Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, decreed Vaduz and Schellenberg were united, and raised to the dignity of Fürstentum (principality) with the name "Liechtenstein" in honour of "[his] true servant, Anton Florian of Liechtenstein". It is on this date that Liechtenstein became a sovereign member state of the Holy Roman Empire. As a testament to the pure political expediency of the purchases, the Princes of Liechtenstein did not set foot in their new principality for over 120 years.

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